The Ravens hired James Urban to be their new quarterbacks coach under Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
Here's a look at five things to know about Urban: 1. He's kind of a local boy
Urban grew up in Mechanicsburg, Pa., just an hour-and-a-half north of Baltimore. He then went to college at Washington and Lee in Virginia, not too far outside of Charlottesville. Urban played wide receiver and kick returner for the Generals. Urban knew he wanted to continue in football, but found his first avenue through administration, not coaching. His first full-time gig was as director of football administration at the University of Pennsylvania in 1999, then director of football operations from 2000-2003. 2. He got his first big break into coaching, in part, due to injury
Players often get their first big opportunities because of injuries. It's next man up. Well, Urban got a break when he first entered the NFL. Urban was a coaching intern for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2003, and when the assistant to Head Coach Andy Reid tore his patellar tendon during camp, Urban took over his duties and was promoted to the position full-time in 2004. Three years later, he became an offensive assistant/quality control coach. He has worked his way up from the bottom. 3. He helped Donovan McNabb and Michael Vick to Pro Bowls
Urban became the Eagles' quarterbacks coach in 2009 under Marty Mornhinweg, who is now again his offensive coordinator. In his first year, Donovan McNabb put together one of the finest seasons of his 13-year career in his last year as an Eagle. McNabb threw for 3,553 yards and tossed 22 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. His 92.9 quarterback rating was the third-highest of his career.
The next year, he was working with Michael Vick, who was in his second year back after a two-year jail sentence. Vick hardly played in 2009. He threw for 3,018 yards and posted 21 touchdowns to six interceptions (as well as 676 rushing yards), for a career-high quarterback rating of 100.2. Vick was named the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year and also went to the Pro Bowl. 4. He was very highly regarded in Cincinnati
Urban's contract ran out in Cincinnati, but he was* *highly respected and had a good track record of success. Bengals.com named him the team's Assistant Coach of the Year in 2016 for his work with the wide receivers.
"When they came into the season, the only wide receiver who played here in 2015 was Green. And yet the position that was supposed to be a weakness became a strength," wrote Editor Geoff Hobson.
Urban was such a hot name that a year ago, there was buzz about him becoming an offensive coordinator.
In six seasons under Urban, A.J. Green has been one of the league's best wide receivers. Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu both excelled and went on to sign lucrative free-agent contracts. Andrew Hawkins, Jerome Simpson and Dane Sanzenbacher all had productive years under Urban in Cincinnati, but not the same success elsewhere. Second-round pick Tyler Boyd posted 54 catches for 603 yards and a touchdown in 2016. 5. He's an excellent student and teacher of the game
When MMQB's Andy Benoit was looking for football coaches to explain the chess match that plays out on the field, he turned to Urban. Benoit called him "one of the most respected assistant coaches in the NFL" and said Urban spent over an hour explaining just two plays.
"It was quite the lesson," Benoit wrote.
Check out the in-depth analysis of two plays from Cincinnati's Week 7 game against the Cleveland Browns in 2016. It will give you an idea of how Urban's brain works, his depth of knowledge and focus on the details.